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All 22 Observations: Atlanta @ Baltimore


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I'm through one quarter of the rewatch....here are some observations:

The big story is how well Mass played. He's generated three clean pressures in the 1st quarter....and an additional "clean up" pressure. He's been dropped back into coverage a couple times but both seem to be on snaps where he's lining up at OLB. I like the versatility but I think we should be rushing him off the edge when he stands up. Unfortunately we don't have the luxury of using him in these types of roles a ton.

The PI on Alford was a really bad play. Luckily he made up for it with the pick.

We do too much zone blitzing with our heavy DL being asked to drop into coverage. The TD came when Babs was asked to drop into a zone...I dont know that I like that very much...especially when he's jab stepping first rather than just immediately dropping back.

Kroy Bierman really is a bad football player at this point. I've watched through these games all season and he just rarely does anything well. And almost every solid or better run an opposing team generates is aimed right at 71. Honestly I think he needs to be dropped to the back of the snap rotation...he's just not generating enough positive to outweigh his negative.

On offense, the run game was actually working decently through Q1. Steven Jackson's vision has deteriorated to the point that he's missing holes and just running up the OLs *******...which isn't great. But Tone had a couple nice runs and at least Jackson is falling forward.

We've really gotta abandon the WR screen game....teams are all over it. To make matters worse, we seem to run the screens when teams are dropping 7+ into coverage. Thats not exactly what you're looking for. I'm fine with the RB outlets but through one quarter we've done absolutely nothing to attack the middle of the field. All of the throws have been quick hitters to the WR on the outside and that same tired 6 yard out that Roddy runs nonstop. I understand the fear of CJ Mosely but we've got multiple weapons capable of going over the middle. This wasnt the way to attack the Ravens at first.

Justin Blalock is ******* terrible. He got Matt absolutely crushed on one throw and fell on his fat face trying to spring out for a screen to the left sideline. Very poor performance.

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2nd Quarter

Our offensive philosophy is clearly a problem here. I don't know if it's Dirk or Matt but we're trying too much of the "supplement the run game with the pass" type stuff we did last year. And its not working. And its DEFINITELY not working on 2nd and 13 when its exactly what the Ravens are looking for.

The false start on Jake was kind of a ******** call. Don't know that I've seen a false start called when an OL gets a super jump...even if its a quarter second before the snap.

1st and 15 shouldnt be a Steven Jackson run down. Again, his vision is lacking and the most you can expect from this type of run is 2-4 yards. I don't know that 2nd and 13 is a whole lot better than the 2nd and 15 you'd get with an unsuccessful pass.

Still not attacking the middle of the field.

There isn't a defensive lineman in the NFL that misses more plays at or behind the LoS as Babs. I swear, he beats his man so often and it yields so little. 1st and 10 run to Forsett and Babs absolutely blows by the guard only to stay wide and run himself past Forsett who turns a loss of 4 into 0.

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Jonathan Massaquoi looked like Robert Mathis out there. He was just plowing through Hurst (the LT of the Ravens) all day long. I'm glad Smith is finally starting to realize that he needs to playing more.

Biermann is just flat out terrible at this point. Everytime he's on the field the offense has an 11-10 advantage. But Mike Smith and Mike Nolan love the guy for some reason.

Devonta Freeman is the best running back on the Falcons and is the future starter moving forward if you ask me. Steven Jackson is garbage, Quizz has been nonexistant, and Antone is a beast but Baltimore was prepared for him.

Koetter's play calling was unbelievably terrible. I lost track at how many screens he drew up. The only Touchdown Atlanta scored came when Matt Ryan was in the no huddle. I'm not sure why we never stick with that but that's more evidence that our coaches are *******.

61 yards, 0 3rd down conversions, 0 points in the 1st half. No comment on that.

Overall it was a bad game and I felt like my inteligence was insulted just by watching this team. I really hope they get it together soon.

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Koetter is just a one trick pony. Vertical passes and WR screens. That is all he knows. Unfortunately, when your O-line sucks you can't throw it down field, and no one blitzes you so those WR screens are ******* worthless. When your team is 8th in the league in YPC and 29th in attempts and your QB is getting demolished every weekend, your OC needs to be ******* fired. Immediately.

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Still 2nd quarter

The Worrilow sack was a great blitz and the type of thing we don't do enough of. We didn't crowd the line or do anything stupid....we lined up 4 down lineman and let them create a bit of space in a a passing situation. Worrilow rushes through for an easy sack. Flacco had a chance to get rid of the ball across the middle (for some reason our back 6 were well off the line) but he didnt.

3rd and 2 and we're tight with Roddy in motion. Pernell McPhee blows by Jake with an inside move. But Roddy is open with a chance to get the first down if Matt gets rid of the ball quickly. Instead, it looks like the play is designed to go to Antone out left but the pressure gets there too fast. Also, Antone ends up on the ground. This play call is fine but Jake blows his block. Not good.

Mass forces another holding call on Hurst. Not a great rush but he gets around enough to get tackled by the OT drawing the flag. And another pressure on Flacco forcing a throw away. He's having a monster game. Now, if we could just get Bierman on the bench...

First snap I've noticed Hageman in the game...he gets dusted by a double team on a 3 yard run by Pierce. 3 yards for Pierce is lik 15 for everyone else.

20 yard pass to Torrey Smith takes advantage of the PA grabbing Ish and Alford giving too much cushion. Pretty easy pickup there.

1st and 10 and we lose 5 yards trying to set Antone up. He's got a ton of room to run opposite play flow but the Ravens have Mosely key on him and he tackles him for a loss. The fact that this was a "naked screen" is discouraging.

2nd and 15 we run two routes straight up field and send three guys on routes that are within 2 yards of the LOS. No, Dirk. No. Establish levels. Send someone on an intermediate route. This is the perfect play for this defense. Complete to Quizz for 3, 3rd and 12.

Post fumble - Carimi gets embarrassed and Matt is sacked for 8. Awful.

Matt pressured again on 3rd down and throws a dropped pick toward Hester. Ravens worked their defenders across the OL to get rushing lanes. Better throw for Matt is probably Roddy on the cross downfield but he's probably gonna get blasted if he catches it.

4th and 12 - Terrible decision to go for the 56+ yard FG here. Punt the ball, Mike. Beeeecaaaause, Flacco goes 2/2 for 33 yards and puts an extra 3 up on the board. Use your head Mike.

However, on the two passing attempts by Flacco, Goodman is in. He actually breaks free on a nice spin move but Flacco gets rid of the ball too quick. On the second pass, he actually drives the OL back a bit, albeit not quickly enough. Why Goodman isn't playing major snaps opposite Mass is beyond me.

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3rd Q

Gouged by a Steve Smith screen to the left. Can't even find the break down. This is just a great play call and a great individual play by Smith.

Down 20-0 we come out with 6OL and a TE. Matt has protection and hits Roddy for 23.

After a "Steven Jackson gets the bare minimum" run, Jake gets worked by Terrell Suggs who forces a short completion.

3rd and 6 and we do this terrible roll out thing that just gives the OL even more **** to worry about in the face of disguised pass rushers. I don't like this at all. I'm fine with rollouts but not this QB sprint out and throw the ball.

On 4th down Matt probably should have tried to fit the throw in to Roddy downfield. Its pretty well covered but given the game situation a pick is better than a sack.

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concur with your assestment but sooner or later were going to have to look at the QB. Mularkey was ran out of town and seems now we're soon to do the same with Koetter. We're running way to many vertical routes and long developing plays when we should be protecting the QB and line. What needs to change is the philosophy and start either spreading out a defense and getting rid of ball quicker and short slant routes that on drop ball is out of Ryan hand. Watched the Giants offense and how McAdoo runs his offense and that would be perfect for Ryan and his decision making. We're running a system that doesn't fit our quarterback strength and nor our teams strength. We all hated Mularkey but least he tried misdirection and roll outs. He moved the pocket for Ryan in certain situations and got players in space. Our offense is poorly spaced. Everything is toward the sidelines now. Falcons should be utilizing Julio in slot like Saints do with Colston at times. The loss of Harry seems to also have hurt this offense and underneath routes. We don't run nearly enough crossing patterns. Also the entire NFL and even college system is using rub routes we hardly run any. Our rub route is fake screen and hope defense falls for it. We should be using Julio/ or our tight end big body to free up Hester in space

This is in no way true. We arent running more than a handful of long developing plays and those plays almost always have a pressure outlet. The problem is we've shortened our passing game immensely in anticipation of protection issues. Instead, we only have any trust in protection in 3rd and long situations where teams are free to blitz the **** out of us.

Failure on the early downs is leading to difficulty on 3rd down.

I will say this about Koetter's route concepts....he asks his targets to win a lot of battles against coverage. He doesnt really leverage routes against each other as well as I'd like. He's not scheming people open he's asking them to get open on their own. Too frequently we give each man an independent zone to win rather than try to overload options to one spot to force the defense into tough choices.

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Kroy just got driven out by a blocking TE like he was a ******* CB.

On these movement run plays, we don't actively push enough....we're too content to try to run with the play and get a stop rather than to try to lean into blockers and clog things up. We just gave up 10 yards with 8 in the box. Not so good.

Then Kroy gets smoked in coverage. UGH. WHY IS HE ON THE FIELD

Man....I know I've been harsh on him over the years...but Flacco is kind of awful. He's made a couple nice throws in this game but he's also left some plays on the field. The pick to Alford is just really really bad.

We end the third quarter with two attempts to get Devonta involved on 3rd and 4th down. On 4th and ~1, we dial up yet another pass to the RB in the flat that gets stopped short. Why we're not spreading the defense out and sneaking it here is unknown. I'd much rather lose the down that way than chancing a free rusher on Matt.

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2nd Quarter

Our offensive philosophy is clearly a problem here. I don't know if it's Dirk or Matt but we're trying too much of the "supplement the run game with the pass" type stuff we did last year. And its not working. And its DEFINITELY not working on 2nd and 13 when its exactly what the Ravens are looking for.

The false start on Jake was kind of a ******** call. Don't know that I've seen a false start called when an OL gets a super jump...even if its a quarter second before the snap.

1st and 15 shouldnt be a Steven Jackson run down. Again, his vision is lacking and the most you can expect from this type of run is 2-4 yards. I don't know that 2nd and 13 is a whole lot better than the 2nd and 15 you'd get with an unsuccessful pass.

Still not attacking the middle of the field.

There isn't a defensive lineman in the NFL that misses more plays at or behind the LoS as Babs. I swear, he beats his man so often and it yields so little. 1st and 10 run to Forsett and Babs absolutely blows by the guard only to stay wide and run himself past Forsett who turns a loss of 4 into 0.

babs can dominate a game yet you wouldn't know it because he can't tackle

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4th Quarter

Kroy's side gets gashed again but then he makes a decent play to stuff a run for 1. Not good enough to justify the 11 yards on the play prior.

Mass, however, blows that **** up in the backfield. Easily our best DL.

Trufant drops a pick. At the end of the day its not a game changer but at some point you gotta do something when the ball comes to you.

The offense hummed on the scoring drive. This was largely because Baltimore was playing back in a zone but Matt did a good job in extending plays and making throws downfield. This was the first time all game that the passing attacked looked downfield at all. And by and large the protection was okay.

On the safety it was just a situation (again) where a defense works pressure from outside in on a loop around and gets a free shot at the QB. It's something we never do but something that constantly works against us. I can't explain it other than its tough to do when you insist on having Babs play outside.

The rest of the game isn't really important...not a whole lot to be learned.

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Overall the game wasnt as lopsided as the score suggested but it wasnt a good performance. The playcalling was pretty vanilla on the defensive side of the ball and terribly scared on the offensive side. I understand theprotection issues we have but our restrained offense isn't really helping matters.

Week after week it comes down to us flubbing a handful of plays and the other teams making a handful of plays. Its a shame because there are some real pieces here. But there are clear needs at the LB spot and obviously on the coaching staff.

Sigh. On to London for a home game....

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agree and disagree with the above. Your just look at last weeks game vs Ravens I'm talking as a whole. Falcons didn't do any vertical routes last week vs Balt but with the wind blowing hard from the get go you knew it wasn't going to be that type of game but our offense should have tried to air it out to stretch a defense out but everything last week was compacted but vs Chi , NYG we were running plays that took to long to develop and line was holding up. Agree with play calling has left us in some bad situations on 3rd and long cause it's basically been run, pass, pass and we should look to balance out the run more and get in shorter situations. It's been a mixed bad of inconsistent play across the board .

-play calling and route designs

- drop passes

- questionable decision making from QB

- last but not least is the offensive line in shambles

But there are plays that I question why isn't our QB attacking middle of field . The one play vs Vikings stands out to me most. Basically vertical concept and Roddy in slot with no help and middle of field wide open the QB makes the decision to throw a sideline go route and does put ball on money should have been caught but has middle of field wide open and ready to exploit

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This was a presnap decision. They're playing single high so Matt likely figured he'd get the ball to the outside before the safety could get over....and he was right. I don't have a problem with the play call or decision so much as I dont like using Hester in that spot. Hester's viability as a WR doesnt come from jump ball situations or outside work. He's a slot/crossing/screen guy who should be working the middle of the field. If this is Julio, its a TD.

Roddy ends up being open but its more or less irrelevant. By the time he gets a step the ball is gone.

I agree with a lot of what you said here in terms of poor execution in key spots. It really underscores how all of the pieces of the machine need to work well in order for the machine to run. BUt ultimately youre right with the run, pass, pass stuff leading to 3rd down issues. At some point, we need to commit to the run game even if there arent strong returns every carry. The run blocking this year is much better than it was last year. We should be looking to get into 3rd and 5 or less....

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I really appreciate you guys who do these breakdowns. Some of my favorite posts to read. Just want to make sure you guys know how much some of us enjoy your hard work and analysis....

No question Larry put a ton of time and effort into this very excellent and thorough review of the Ravens game. It all just confirms the coaching/scheme problems we have been railing about for many months are as bad as ever, as well as the inexcusably stubborn commitment to Kroy Biermann. And those four or five plays each game the Falcons fail on and their opponents succeed which turn a possible W into another disheartening L. It's a malaise born from playing ultra-conservative, timid, uninspired, low-energy football.

You appear to be trying very hard, and you appear to be doing almost as much right as the other team, but not quite. You look impressive, but the reality is you're playing just good enough to lose. This Falcon team under the leadership of Mike Smith over the last season and a half has literally mastered the art of playing just good enough to lose. I don't see any way to break out of this always-coming-up-short cycle until Smith and his suffocating blanket of conservatism is gone.

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No question Larry put a ton of time and effort into this very excellent and thorough review of the Ravens game. It all just confirms the coaching/scheme problems we have been railing about for many months are as bad as ever, as well as the inexcusably stubborn commitment to Kroy Biermann. And those four or five plays each game the Falcons fail on and their opponents succeed which turn a possible W into another disheartening L. It's a malaise born from playing ultra-conservative, timid, uninspired, low-energy football.

You appear to be trying very hard, and you appear to be doing almost as much right as the other team, but not quite. You look impressive, but the reality is you're playing just good enough to lose. This Falcon team under the leadership of Mike Smith over the last season and a half has literally mastered the art of playing just good enough to lose. I don't see any way to break out of this always-coming-up-short cycle until Smith and his suffocating blanket of conservatism is gone.

Unfortunately for this team Steve, it is almost undeniably so that Smith is the problem as you have stated early and often. Some of us hoped it wasn't so as we all wish for the best in the immediate but I think we all agree now that as well-intentioned as he may be our dear friend Mr. Smith is in way over his head. He wants to quantify and measure his way to a championship and that is not how you lead men. They must believe in your manhood and be inspired to fight for you because of who you are. As the famous line from a movie once said, 'he has been weighed, he has been measured and he has been found wanting'

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Thanks for the kind words everyone.

Its very frustrating to see the bad stuff but also like to see our young defenders making strides. I think there are pieces here that could be very useful going forward

Yeah, I think we have a few decent complementary pieces in the front 7. We just need to supplement it with one or two elite talents at this point. The people wanting to sign 2 big money edge rushers and then use our top 2 draft picks on edge rushers are overreacting. This D doesn't have a ton of talent, but they could at least be below average instead of a total dumpster fire if we used our personnel more effectively.

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babs can dominate a game yet you wouldn't know it because he can't tackle

if we had some playmakers around him t would make a huge difference

its tough to do when you insist on having Babs play outside.

this really cant be stressed enough...im beyond sick of seeing him line up on the edge

Thanks for the kind words everyone.

Its very frustrating to see the bad stuff but also like to see our young defenders making strides. I think there are pieces here that could be very useful going forward

Great write-up

The bolded part is basically my hopes for the rest of this season. Lets just develop some of the young players because we actually do have some talent out there. Mass, Trufant, and Goodman all have the potential to be very good players. Then there are guys like Ishmael, Worrilow, Shembo, Maponga, Alford (as bad as he has looked) and even Bartu, who can be solid contributors if they are given a chance. Southward is another guy I'd like to see given a shot at real playing time.

Offensively, we have Matthews and Asamoah up front. Carimi is playing his way out of a job right now. Hawley was becoming a solid player.

Toliolo isnt bad despite the drops against the Bears. He has potential. Freeman and Smith should be given the bulk of carries and obviously Matt Ryan is the QB for the foreseeable future.

WR is an interesting position because we have a young stud we can build around (Julio), and then some veterans who might need to be replaced in a couple years. Roddy, Harry, and Hester look pretty solid for now, but I honestly wouldnt mind seeing a young WR brought in to give us some youth. It would definitely help long-term and could probably shake things up and give us a jolt short-term.

Its gonna be another interesting off-season. I want to see us rebuild instead of trying to bandage this team with guys like Jackson, Soliai, etc.

Lets just go young already

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